South Africa has some of the world’s richest, endemic biomes. Bossieveld Mystique pays homage to the succulent Karoo plants of Africa’s Southern Cape.
The name says it all. It’s home to nearly 10,000 species of succulents, 40% of which are found nowhere else in the world. Louise van der Walt, a pharmacist by trade, worked to research the medicinal properties of these native plants— affectionately called bossies by locals.
Bossieveld Mystique Gin begins from a base of grain vodka, which is then re-distilled with juniper. Local succulents are then macerated in the gin. Though some botanicals are added via compounding and maceration, the base gin is a true distilled product. The eerie, unfamiliar, and alluring sea foam green hue of Mystique Gin (dare I say…) is part of the mystique.
The nose is savory with strong herbal notes. Hints of menthol, Bartlett pear, a hint of cubeb and nopales all with a bit of raw ethanol heat. Juniper is subtle but present.
Bossieveld Mystique has an assertive burst of heat on the palate; however, there’s a lot of complexity in its botanical bill.
Early, raw, green boxwood leaf notes take the fore. It’s fresh and green, but also strikingly not herbal. Hints of forest floor and a slight piney juniper round things out.
Mid-palate some coriander, cubeb and indistinct spice jumps out, alongside some heat from the base spirit.
The warmth fades and the back half of the palate is herbal with more familiar menthol and camphor tones. Hints of tarragon, basil, waxy juniper, and watermelon rind gently persist and slowly fade.
The finish is moderately astringent, but botanically driven.
Intensely savory and herb forward, Bossieveld Mystique is a challenging mixing gin. The green/herbal notes dominate and don’t pair as well with citrus. That being said, pair it with fresh herbs— perhaps a Gin and Tonic with some grapefruit and rosemary. The terpey pine notes will help bring that juniper out of the background. Further, perhaps try it with fresh mint in a Southside or in a Bramble.
Bossieveld Mystique is also good in a Negroni. (although you will lose that beautiful color).
Overall, Bossieveld Mystique
The juniper subtly presents a backbone, but the melange of Karoo bossies are the star here. Fans of savory, herbal gins will find a lot to like here. Bartenders should treat Bossieveld Mystique as a specialty gin and design cocktails around its strengths, as opposed to a “plug and play” any-cocktail sort of gin.
A fun, interesting, and herbal gin that conjures up a remote and diverse plant kingdom that many of us (at least in our part of the world) rarely have the opportunity to experience.